Millimetre-wave emission from an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way

Tomoharu Oka, Shiho Tsujimoto, Yuhei Iwata, Mariko Nomura, Shunya Takekawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is widely accepted that black holes with masses greater than a million solar masses (M ·) lurk at the centres of massive galaxies. The origins of such 'supermassive' black holes (SMBHs) remain unknown 1, although those of stellar-mass black holes are well understood. One possible scenario is that intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), which are formed by the runaway coalescence of stars in young compact star clusters 2, merge at the centre of a galaxy to form a SMBH 3. Although many candidates for IMBHs have been proposed, none is accepted as definitive. Recently, we discovered a peculiar molecular cloud, CO-0.40-0.22, with an extremely broad velocity width, near the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. Based on the careful analysis of gas kinematics, we concluded that a compact object with a mass of about 105 M · is lurking in this cloud 4. Here we report the detection of a point-like continuum source as well as a compact gas clump near the centre of CO-0.40-0.22. This point-like continuum source (CO-0.40-0.22∗) has a wide-band spectrum consistent with 1/500 of the Galactic SMBH (Sgr A∗) in luminosity. Numerical simulations around a point-like massive object reproduce the kinematics of dense molecular gas well, which suggests that CO-0.40-0.22∗is one of the most promising candidates for an intermediate-mass black hole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-712
Number of pages4
JournalNature Astronomy
Volume1
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1

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millimeter waves
kinematics
Milky Way Galaxy
galaxies
continuums
star clusters
clumps
molecular gases
stellar mass
molecular clouds
gases
coalescing
luminosity
broadband
stars
simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Millimetre-wave emission from an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way. / Oka, Tomoharu; Tsujimoto, Shiho; Iwata, Yuhei; Nomura, Mariko; Takekawa, Shunya.

In: Nature Astronomy, Vol. 1, No. 10, 01.10.2017, p. 709-712.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oka, Tomoharu ; Tsujimoto, Shiho ; Iwata, Yuhei ; Nomura, Mariko ; Takekawa, Shunya. / Millimetre-wave emission from an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way. In: Nature Astronomy. 2017 ; Vol. 1, No. 10. pp. 709-712.
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